What resolution should I make my images for PowerPoint slide shows?

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Image resolution is the number of pixels in an image, measured in pixels per inch. Figuring out the optimal image resolution in PowerPoint is vital yet simple as you can think. This article will introduce how to set the best image resolution for PowerPoint from the following 2 parts: Screen Resolution & Printer Resolution.

Part I: Best Screen Resolution - for PowerPoint presentations to be projected or shown on screen

Note: The term dpi (dots per inch) is irrelevant with screen resolution.
  • 1. Get Started with Screen Resolution

First, let’s learn a little about Screen Resolution. Screen Resolution is an output resolution. It is also called Display Settings, which refers to the number of pixels displayed across the width of your computer monitor or data projector image. The most common display settings are 800 x 600 and 1024 x 768 while the default resolution of PowerPoint is 720 x 540 (almost the same as digital video).
The problem is, your image in PowerPoint won’t get better displayed or projected when it exceeds the screen resolution. For example, if the slide image reaches 2048x1280, the screen resolution only 1024x768, then reducing image size in your presentation is necessary.
The key to the problem: Make the size (in pixel) of slide images equal to the screen resolution of your target computer or projector. For instance, if your screen resolution is 1024 × 768, you’d set your full-slide image size to 1024 × 768. If the image is half the size of the slide, the optimal resolution for screen should be cut to 1024/2 pixels wide and 768/2 pixels high.

2. How to calculate image size in PowerPoint?

As PowerPoint defaults image size by cm, you need a reduction formula to change the measurement unit from pixels to cm. For an 800 × 600 display, you simply do this to images in your PowerPoint file:
Width: 800 / 96 * 2.539999918
Height: 600 / 96 * 2.539999918

3. How can I check display resolution of the target computer?

To check the display resolution of your PC, right-click on the Windows desktop, and choose Properties. You should see the Display Properties dialog box. Click the Settings tab. Under Screen Resolution, you'll see the current setting, e.g. "800 × 600,""1024 × 768", "1280 × 1024", etc.

4. Jump out this misread:

"Big screen on a projector requires higher resolution image in PowerPoint."
Truth: It is not how large or small the screen matters, but the resolution of the projector. Slide image pixels may spread when displayed on a large screen, but the number of pixels keeps the same.

5. What is the best image file format for PowerPoint

PNG and JPG are the best image considerations for your PowerPoint presentation. Use PNG for smaller PowerPoint presentation. Use JPG to minimize file size of your PowerPoint presentation for email.

Part II: Optimal Printer Resolution - for printing a PowerPoint presentation

Printer resolution refers to the number of pixels (or dots) across a line (the width) of your printed image. It is the only issue that DPI is only relevant to. DPI is the measure of printed image quality on the paper, while PIXEL dimensions are relevant to all images displayed on a computer or projector.
How to calculate printed image size for PowerPoint?
It is not difficult to figure out the ideal printed image size from dimensions of the original one. For example, a 2,250 by 1,500 pixel image printed at 100 dpi will be 22.5 inches across the horizontal axis (2,250 divided by 100), shown as below:
2250 pixels / 100 dpi = 22.5 inch (print width)
Before printing slide images, be aware of the resolution of your printer. It is not economic to print an image of 400 dpi on a 200 dpi printer. Just save the image at a resolution of 200 dpi.
In a nutshell, the best resolution for image in PowerPoint is not the highest, but one that fits to the output device (projector, screen & printer).